Recently, Canadian actor William Shatner, who is he is famous for playing the role of James T. Kirk in the Star Trek franchise, congratulated Russian-Canadian programmer Vitalik Buterin, who is the creator of Ethereum, for the successful Merge upgrade.

Around 7:00 a.m. UTC on September 15, Ethereum’s Merge upgrade was completed, which meant that the Ethereum network had transitioned from proof-of-work (PoW) consensus to proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus.

Vitalik called this protocol upgrade “a big moment for the Ethereum ecosystem”:

Three days later, fellow Canadian William Shatner, who is a crypto enthusiast, congratulated Vitalik and his team on this highly impressive achievement, which means that the Ethereum network is now using a tiny fraction of the energy it was using before the Merge, thereby becoming much more environment-friendly:

It is worth noting that this is not the first time that Shatner has interacted with Vitalik on Twitter:

On Merge Day, Amsterdam-based international environmental organization Greenpeace issued a press release, which stated that “as ethereum, the world’s second largest cryptocurrency, dramatically cuts its climate pollution, environmental groups have intensified pressure on bitcoin to meet or beat ethereum’s environmental performance.”

Before the Merge, here is what Etheruem Foundation said about the the change in Ethereum’s energy consumption:

“Ethereum’s energy consumption will be reduced by ~99.95% following The Merge from proof-of-work (PoW) to proof-of-stake (PoS). After The Merge, Ethereum will use dramatically less carbon to be more secure.

“Since its inception, Ethereum has aimed to implement a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, but doing this without compromising Ethereum’s vision of being a secure, scalable, and decentralized blockchain has taken years of focused research and development.

“Therefore, the network started by using proof-of-work consensus. Proof-of-work consensus requires miners to use their computing hardware to solve a puzzle. The solution to the puzzle proves that energy has been expended by the miner, demonstrating that they invested real-world value for the right to add to the blockchain.

“Both proof-of-work and proof-of-stake are just mechanisms to decide who gets to add the next block. Swapping proof-of-work for proof-of-stake, where the real-world value invested comes from ETH staked directly in a smart contract, removes the need for miners to burn energy to add to the blockchain. Therefore, the environmental cost of securing the network is drastically reduced.“

Last Thursday, after the Merge, Silicon Valley based venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (“a16z”), explained why “Ethereum is a far superior blockchain now than it was before.”

In a blog post published on Merge Day, Ali Yaha, a General Partner at a16z, called the Merge “an insane feat” since this upgrade “involved hot-swapping the most important component of Ethereum’s architecture – its consensus mechanism – *while it was running*.” Yaha noted that “all this occurred while maintaining perfect uptime for millions of users, thousands of decentralized applications (dapps), and hundreds of billions of dollars secured.”

Yaha then said that were some of the main advantges of Ethereum’s move to PoS consensus:

  • Post-Merge, Ethereum is now 100x+ more energy-efficient than it was before. Participating in consensus no longer expends the enormous amount of electricity that PoW does. After The Merge, energy usage of ETH will be comparable to the datacenters of web2.
  • PoS has direct access to each validator’s “stake”, the funds, or skin-in-the-game, that validators deposit to secure the network. That allows PoS incentives to be far more granular, further increasing security.
  • … anyone with 32 ETH can now participate as a validator on Ethereum.
  • On a PoS blockchain, transactions that go through consensus are final… Transaction finality on Ethereum will lay the groundwork for future work that will improve Ethereum’s ability to scale (via “layer 2” solutions such as rollups), connect to other blockchains (via cross-chain bridges), and build better abstractions for developers that are easier to use and reason about.

He also mentioned that the Merge is “a big deal” that “brings us closer to a world that benefits from an efficient and secure layer for decentralized computation that can support the applications we all want to build.”